Email Security Best Practices you should adopt for your SaaS Business

Email Security Best Practices for your SaaS Business

Introduction

Email has become an essential mean of communication for both personal as well as corporate use. From personal online subscriptions to business deals, all take place over email now. So, such a platform, where most of your daily communication takes place, should be secure enough to protect your information against digital threats.

Email Security

Email Security refers to the set of measures that an individual or a company takes to protect its email communications platform from various cyber threats. Since email communications platforms are widely used, they are also one of the most popular targets for cyber-criminals. Cyber Adversaries can use different techniques like phishing, social engineering, or domain spoofing and brand impersonating to gain unauthorized access to your email communications.

Blockchain Security

A report from Mimecast on the state of email security shows that more than 6 in 10 companies have fallen victim to ransomware attacks in the last year. This makes up 64% of all companies. The same report also explains a 50% increase in email threats in the year 2020. In addition, 76% of organizations have suffered from inadequate preparation against email threats.

Even though the number of email victims is growing, you can still secure your email system by implementing appropriate email security tools and solutions. Through implementing additional email security solutions in addition to what Google, Microsoft and other email platforms provide you organization would have much more comprehensive protection over email communications.
Eradicating the practice of sending confidential and sensitive information as attachments via email communications will also reduce your organizations risk exposure. Adopt a culture and practice of providing links to source documents that are controlled by access control limits such as preventing viewing, editing and downloading.

Types of Email Attacks

Here are some popular cyber-attacks targeting email users:-

  1. Phishing
    During a phishing attack, the attacker sends the user some sort of direct message, text, or even email. In this email, the attacker presents the contents of the message as useful information and acts like a trusted individual to gain the trust of the user. The attacker can then manipulate the user into disclosing sensitive information such as account credentials, credit card details, etc.
  2. Spam
    Spam is an old-school technique that has grown exponentially over the years. So much so that by 2014 it was reported that almost 90% of global emails are just spam. Unlike phishing attacks, not all spam emails are harmful. Spam emails are sent in bulk to a large number of recipients. Spam emails are usually marketing emails sent by botnets. In all modern email services, such messages are filtered out by a spam category.
  3. Spoofing
    Spoofing is said to be a serious threat. In this scenario the attacker tricks the recipient into receiving a forged email. While the user believes the email is from a trusted source, the situation is quite the opposite. Here, an attacker changes the metadata of email to bypass email services’ security checks. Ultimately, the attacker can easily impersonate someone trustworthy to take hold of any sensitive information.

Countermeasures to Email Attacks

Due to the popularity of email attacks, the market has also developed several best practices to protect user emails. You can implement simple techniques within your personal or professional environment to ensure a secure email service in the long run.

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1. Use Strong Email Password Policy

You have probably already heard of it, yet the importance of strong passwords is often overlooked. Passwords that are easy to remember and simple are more likely to be compromised. There are more than 3 million public accounts using simple passwords like “123456” or “123456789.” This is not only dangerous for your email accounts, but for all your other online accounts as well. Utilize a Password Manager Tools (e.g. LastPass, McAfee TrueKey, to generate and manage strong passwords for your online accounts.

2. Two Factor Authentication

You have probably already heard of it, yet the importance of strong passwords is often overlooked. Passwords that are easy to remember and simple are more likely to be compromised. There are more than 3 million public accounts using simple passwords like “123456” or “123456789.” This is not only dangerous for your email accounts, but for all your other online accounts as well. Utilize a Password Manager Tools (e.g. LastPass, McAfee TrueKey, to generate and manage strong passwords for your online accounts.

3. Beware of Phishing Emails

As mentioned previously, phishing emails are meant to trick the user into disclosing sensitive information by pretending to be a reputable service. Be very careful when you open an email. Pay attention to the URLs and attachments and do not click until you are fully aware of the contents of an email.

4. Don’t Access Emails over Public WiFi

Although public WiFi can be a real help outdoors, that does not change the fact that they are also one of the most vulnerable access points. Your internet traffic is not encrypted over public WiFi and can be easily accessed by the administrator of the network. You can say that private browsing over public WiFi is just like shouting your Facebook password at a mall.

5. Email Encryption

Encrypting your emails means converting them into a scrambled form. So, if a malicious user does get hold of your private information, they cannot decrypt it to understand its contents. Fortunately, all modern email service providers offer encryption so make sure to avail this amazing feature.

6. Antivirus Protection

Use a state-of-the-art antivirus program to scan all the contents of your emails. Most modern antivirus programs are well equipped to combat malware and will warn you if they detect anything suspicious in your emails.

7. Email Security Software

An effective email environment requires more than just implementing some security measures. A reliable email security software solution can take your efforts to the next level by offering protection against modern-day attacks. Here are some honorable mentions

    • Proofpoint Email Protection Suite
    • Avanan
    • Mimecast Secure Email Gateway
    • Barracuda Email Security Gateway
    • Cisco Secure Email
    • Trend Micro Cloud App Security
    • Fortimail
    • Symantec Email Security Cloud
    • Symantec Messaging Gateway
    • Microsoft Defender for Office 365

Bottom Line

Cyber-criminals have no doubt made email platforms their favorite targets, but countermeasures available to combat their attacks have also advanced enough to stop their activities. Being an email service user, you or your company should take all necessary precautions to safeguard your email platforms against growing cyber-attacks. It may be challenging to secure emails, but with little effort and the right guidance, you can communicate using emails without fear of cyberattacks.